Review by TheSAMMIES

Reviewed: 09/16/13 | Updated: 11/18/13

Before Final Fantasy and before the NES, Squaresoft made a porno.

Warning! Alpha has pornographic scenes. There is nonconsensual bondage, torture, and rape in this thing and it’s pretty harsh for a game that only has 16 colors. If you don’t want to play games with dark sexual themes or are just too young to play these types of games, then you should play something else.

Square and Enix made some of the most beloved JRPGs of all time. They also used to make porn. While Enix put out the abysmal Mari-Chan Kiki Ippatsu and Lolita Syndrome, Square made something that was actually competent. Okay, Alpha isn’t great by any means, but it does what it’s trying to do well and handles its adult content in a much less immature way than Enix’s stuff.

Alpha was one of Square’s earliest games and it starred an action heroine with a gun and a really skimpy outfit. She loses that outfit a few times in the story. It’s a little shocking at first to think that Squaresoft used to make games with sexual content, but once you get used to it, it’s not that bad. It’s really no worse than anything else on the FM7. In fact, it’s comparatively tame. Wow, rape is tame compared to naked child molestation adventures of My Lolita and Christine? The FM7 had some really screwed up stuff on it.

Story- Chris is a space explorer that runs around in little more than a crop top and bikini bottom. Her spaceship, The Daedalus, has crashed, and she is stranded on a shady planet called Alpha. It’s full of all kinds of bad stuff like crime lords, evil giant robots, and rapists. Think of it as the wrong side of the tracks, except it’s not just a city district, but a whole planet. Chris must find a way off of this hellhole in some way or another and escape.

The story takes a few dark turns. Chris has sex a few times in the story, but it’s not always consensual. Some criminals catch her at one point, strip her naked, and take her to some kind of creepy rape dungeon. This scene does not have too much bearing on the plot, so it looks weird in the big picture. They also tie her up and leave her to die. It’s okay, you can get out of this situation by thinking like an escape artist, but it’s still a depressing part of the game.

Alpha isn’t all bondage and rape, though. There’s also a lot of sci-fi stuff too. Chris has a lot of interaction with computers, robots, and all kinds of technobabble that will make no sense whether you know Japanese or not. It has some cool moments, like when Chris shoots people or operates robots. Good luck playing this thing if you don’t know Japanese, though. The game is completely in katakana, even the text commands.

Presentation- Alpha has in game images of everything that happens at the top of the screen. It looks pretty good for a FM7 game. There’s some actual animation to things too. You can see Chris wink at you and make lusty faces in the into. Explosions make loud noises and sparkle onscreen. Giant robots light up and move. It’s all very advanced for such primitive hardware. Unfortunately, other stuff move too, and by other stuff, I mean various… sexual acts. By sexual acts, I mean Alpha has disturbing 8-bit rape with limited animation. It’s pretty disturbing. You truly have not seen what the FM7’s 8-bit graphics are capable of until you’ve seen rape portrayed through it. It’s weird, and kind of funny if you have a sick sense of humor.

Turn the sound off while playing Alpha. Please, it just sound horrible. Everything has a sharp, shrill noise to it. Background music is roughly ten seconds long and will repeat and repeat until you move onto the next scene or until you get a migraine and temporarily go deaf. The FM7 was never the best when it came to sounds, but Alpha is just horrible. Please, turn off your speakers and put in some of your own music instead. Your ears will thank you.

Gameplay- Alpha is a text adventure. You type in commands and hope you chose the correct verb or direction to advance the plot. You can corner yourself and lose if you aren’t careful, but the game isn’t too hard. Just try not to play like an idiot and it should be pretty easy to complete this one. There are a few things that will complicate things for players, though.

Alpha is linear. In fact, its linearity can feel confining, restricting, almost claustrophobic. You don’t have a lot of exploration, which can be good, since exploring can get tedious at times. On the other hand, if you’re lost and don’t know what to do, you’re kind of stuck. The game doesn’t give out hints very easily and it can feel confining to not have a lot of places to go when you’re stuck. Sometimes it can feel frustrating, like you’re playing some kind of guessing game where you have to try to think what the hell the game wants you to do. It’s not always obvious and can get really annoying when coupled with Alpha’s screechy sound.

Another hindrance is that everything is in Japanese. You can type in letters, but they come out as katakana, which is frustrating and unintuitive. Maybe it’s just because English is my first language and I expect to see English letters when I type, but it got real frustrating. It isn’t bad enough to affect the gameplay, but more of just a minor gripe. You can still have a lot of fun with Alpha, just be warned that the game can get really annoying and the story itself isn’t anything to write home about.

Cool Fact- Square nearly went bankrupt from making these games. Final Fantasy was called such because Square was convinced it would be their last game. It wasn’t and Alpha was never heard from again. Maybe Chris will make a cameo in the next Final Fantasy? It’s doubtful, though hearing Cecil whine about how rough his life is only for Chris to say “Oh, that’s nothing. I was hung up by my wrists and gang raped.” would get him to shut up.

Also Try- Play one of Square’s good games. How about Chrono Trigger, Parasite Eve, or Rad Racer? If you want a good pornographic text adventure, there’s always Leisure Suit Larry. It’s in English and is way more accessible than Alpha.

Rating: 6

Product Release: Alpha (JP, 07/31/86)

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